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General: This camera is an upgrade from your cheap point and shoot, but doesn't require a photgraphy A-level. This would suit you if you just want good, reliable holiday / event shots, including maybe some "arty" shots of sunsets, scenery etc. It might also suit experienced, skilled photographers who want a second, smaller camera.
Appearance and durability: It's not the tiniest, lightest camera around, or the sexiest looking. It is however reasonably compact and pleasing to the eye. It is small enough to stick in your bag (unless you go for very minimalist handbags) when travelling, or to take to a party or event. It comes with a case. I'd say it is reasonably durable so far, as it's survived high temperatures and a few knocks on my recent holiday!
The change from APS: Some of you may be hardened APS addicts, like me - I've been APS for 5 years and thought I would never go back. I'm one of those disaster prone people who is sure to ruin a film by accidentally exposing it to light. So when my old faithful APS camera died, I wanted to get another one. However, the range of APS cameras is becoming very limited, and they are more expensive in terms of film and developing photos. You can be reassured that if this camera is anything to go by, changing a 35mm film is now a lot easier! You simply put it in, shut the camera and it does the rest itself. Similarly, it rewinds itself. You don't have to worry so much about light either - but be careful to remember it's not APS! I changed my films in a slightly darkened room (curtains drawn) which is fine.
Ease of use: This camera is easy to use. If you like to sit down and play with your new toy, you can master the features in minutes - the instruction manual is quite clear and easy to read. However, if you don't have the time, you could still use the camera without knowing all its capabilities. it's quite obvious how the basic features work. My mum also owns this camera and has managed to use it for a year without ever reading the manual! It is a little different taking photos if you are used to cheaper, more basic cameras. You would have no problems getting used to this camera though, after a few practice shots.
Features: You aim a square at your subject, press the shutter down halfway to focus, and click to take the photo. My one complaint is that the shutter is very light to use, so you could accidentally take two identical pictures or take a picture too soon, if you are not sure you have pressed it all the way down. You know when you have taken a photo by the sound (and flash, if using) but there is a brief delay. The camera has a zoom lens. I hadn't used one before but found it easy to pick up. Other features include six flash settings - you can choose auto (the camera decides itself whether flash is needed), auto with red eye reduction, on, off, or two settings for large differences in light between the subject and background. I have to admit I have only used auto so far. There are also special modes, such as for photographing moving objects and portraits. You can turn the camera off (to avoid accidentally taking that shot of nothing, and increase the battery's life). All these features are controlled by three small buttons on top of the camera, which you couldn't confuse with the shutter or each other. There is a small display screen which shows quite clearly which settings you have selected.
Photos: The picture quality is excellent. I was impressed by the sharpness and detail, although distance shots using the zoom lens are not quite as clear. You can really see the difference having had cheaper cameras.
Value for money: The camera is excellent value for money. If you are looking to upgrade a bit but can't afford to spend lots, I thoroughly recommend it. I bought mine in Dixons, Gatwick airport for £46 - a bit cheaper than the price quoted here, but then it was duty free.
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